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What is a Brief of Evidence
a compilation of statements taken from witnesses, victims & police together with other pieces of evidence that may include photographs, other documentary evidence, exhibits etc.
What is a Criminal Investigation?
The systematic search for and collection and analysis of data, both tangible (physical objects) and intangible (information), with the aim of identifying perpetrators of crime, logically compiling all relevant evidence for presentation to a court.
What does a good investigator need to know?
- * how to gather information
- * what information is important
- * when information needs to be gathered
- * where to get the information
- * why th informtion needs to be gathered; and
- * who can provide the information
What are the qualities to be a good police officer and hence, a good investigator?
- * high levels of motivation
- * ability to exercise personal initiative
- * good communication skills
- * professional attitude; and
- * able to make rational, ethical decisions
- * think critically
What is an investigation?
An attempt to find out the truth based on the gathering of information in a fair and ethical manner.
What is the aim of an investigation?
- * determine whether a crime has been committed
- * legally obtain sufficient information and evidence to identify the responsible person
- * Locate & arrest the suspect
- * recover stolen property
- * present the best possible case to the prosecutor
How can you measure a successful investigation?
- * A logical sequence of investigation is followed
- * All physical evidence was legally obtained
- * All witnesses were effectively interviewed
- * All Suspects were legally & effectively interrogated
- * All leads are thoroughly developed
- * All details of the case are accurately and completely recorded and reported
(NB. if the investigator is satisfied all these points have been addressed during the course of the investigation then it has been successful regardless of the result at Court. )
What are contemporaneous notes?
Those notes made at the first available opportunity are critical for ensuring evidence is reliable when later used in Courts.
The reliability of notes made hours & days later is diminished and its reliability and credibility can be argued during court proceedings.
As soon as the situation is controlled police should make notes of the occurrence.
Who does Human Rights apply to?
Human rights are equally applied to all people including witnesses, victims, offenders and any other person police may come into contact with.
- Some examples of human rights are:
- * the right to life, liberty & security of person
- * the right not to be sujected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
- * The right to equal protection of the law
- * The right to presumption of innocence
- * the right to privacy
- * The right to freedom of speech
Ethics in Investigation
It may be necessary to legally infringe on the rights of some individuals. It is therefore, vitally important that when police investigate, they do so in an ethical and impartial manner.
Describe the scientific method of investigation
A way of observing, thinking about, and solving problems objectively & systematically.
What is Inculpatory Evidence?
Evidence that tends to support the prosecutions case.
What is Exculpatory Evidence?
Evidence that tends to disprove of negate a conclusion that you have reached. It is evidence which clears or tends to clear the suspect from the commission of an offence.
what are the 6 steps of the scientific method of investigation?
- 1. State the problem
- 2. Form the hypothesis
- 3. Collect data by observing and experimenting
- 4. Interpret the data as a test of the hypothesis
- 5. If the data supports the hypothesis so far, continue to collect additional data
- 6. Draw conclusions (which if the data is supportive may lead to a theory)
Critical Thinking - carefully considering all the information they have, to determine:
- * what each piece of information means;
- * the links which the pieces of information have to each other;
- * the reliability of each piece of information
- * what other pieces of information they need to get a fuller picture; and
- * what sorts of conclusions they can reasonably draw from their information
What is the point in studying critical thinking?
Critical thinking is the use of reason in the pursuit of truth.
It lets us work through problems and information in a questioning sort of way (in a way which takes nothing at face value) and come to reasonable and defendable conclusions (and remember that police officers are often called to defend their decisions.)
From crime scene to court.
The result of a police investigation is to the prosecution of the suspect for criminal offences. This is needed to be proven beyong reasonable doubt that the person committed the offence.
1. Following the interview with the suspect, police may choose to prosecute. Either by CIN, FCAN or arrest.
2. If the person pleads not guilty then the matter will be contested in Court.
3. OIC has to prepare a Brief of Evidence which the prosecution relies on to prove the allegation of stealing.
4. On the date of the hearing at Court the evidence which the prosecution is relying on will be given to the magistrate by witnesses, exhibits will be tendered to the Magistrate.
5. Once all the evidence has been presented & cross examined by the defence the Magistrate is required to determine if a prima facie case has been established.
6. If no prima facie case has been established the Magistrate will dismiss the charge.
7. If a prima facie case has been established the Magistrate will invite the defence to present evidence on behalf of the suspect.
8. The Magistrate then determines guilt or inncocence (The standard of proof required to convict a person for a criminal offence is beyond reasonable doubt)
Define what hypothesis is
An educated guess
Explain critical thinking
relying on reason rather than emotion.
Explain how critical thinking is used in criminal investigations
It allows us to work through problems & information in a questioning way (i.e. take nothing at face value) and come to a reasonable & defendable solution.
Crime & incident scenes: The investigative role & powers of police:
The preservation, identification of information & recording of physical evidence.
People as a Source of information (original Evidence)
1. Witnesses - victim or observer at the scene are a primary source of information. Police rarely witness a crime & rely heavily on the accounts of witnesses. Good eye witnesses are often the best source of information in a criminal investigation.
Witnesses should be seperated to avoid them speaking to each other & thereby influencing their respective accounts of what happened. Police should also be careful not to ask suggestive & leading questions.
If need be, police should canvas the area for leads to potential witnesses that may have left the crime scene.
Suspects a a source of information - Suspects often admit their role in the crime. Inconsistencies can be used to discredit the suspects version. Questions should be worded so that the suspect gives the information freely.
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